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Product Law bulletin – June 2020

05 June 2020. Published by Gavin Reese, Partner and Nick McMahon, Head of Health and Safety and Robert John, Senior Associate and Peter Rudd-Clarke, Legal Director and Elinor Sidwell, Associate

Welcome to the latest edition of our product law update, this month we focus on how COVID-19 is impacting product liability regulation.

Whirlpool extends scope of appliance recall
Whirlpool has extended the scope of their recall of certain types of washing machines to cover a further 21 models, amounting to an additional 55,000 washing machines being added to the recall list. Read more.

Tougher crash tests launched for 2020
Safety organisation Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Programme) have announced their toughest ever car crash tests, with cars to be crashed into a moving barrier for the first time and assessment to be made of ease of evacuation after a crash. Additionally, a new sophisticated crash-test dummy – dubbed THOR (Test device for Human Occupant Restraint) – will be introduced, with the new dummy more closely mimicking the behaviour of humans in collisions. Read more.

Product Law considerations arising from COVID-19
The impact of Covid-19 has been undeniably profound and widespread, seemingly affecting every area of life. Inevitably, one such area impacted has been product liability. Read more.

Coping with COVID-19: Considerations for diversification within the food industry
On 23 March 2020, the Government announced that all cafés, restaurants and pubs had to close immediately as part of the UK’s COVID-19 lockdown. As a result, many of the businesses have endeavoured to diversify by introducing takeaway and delivery services where they have not done so before. This has created challenges. Read more.

Government powers to order provision of information from companies in the food supply chain
Sections 25 – 29 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 empower certain authorities (as detailed in s26) to order the provision of information from companies who form part of the food supply chain. Read more.

FSA issues guidance on cannabidiol (CBD) food products
Following concerns regarding unregulated and unregulated products on the  market and the recent findings by the Committee on Toxicity (COT), the Food Standards Agency (FSA) have produced a statement to provide further guidance on the safe use of CBD products. Read more.

Product Liability and the rise of Artificial Intelligence
The main source of law on product liability is the Consumer Protection Act, dating back to 1987, and used to implement the strict liability regime introduced by EU Directive 85/347/EEC (the Product Liability Directive) introduced in 1985. Since the introduction of these laws, technology has progressed (and continues to progress) at a rapid rate. This, in conjunction with limited statutory updates, raises the question of whether the current law can adequately address modern issues, in particular AI technology. Read more.